RICHARD DUCKER
The use of cement in Richard Ducker’s most recent sculptures emphasises a kind
of death, or a modernist monumentality, but the objects it coats and with which it is
juxtaposed evoke nostalgia, myths soaked in dreams, and fairy tales gone wrong. If
a domestic interior is evoked, it is one in which homely things have sprouted
aggressive appendages, grown unexpected textures, or multiplied into viral
aggregates, as if to embody the nightmares that commodity fetishes might dream of
if they fell asleep. Like Proust’s madeleine dipped in tea, they evoke memories and
sensations according to a logic that combines cultural association with
phenomenological fantasies of sensual experiences, often clashing within the same
piece. In
Death Star (and Baby), for example, the familiar shape of plastic bottles is
made strange by a coating of intensely black flock, at once attractive and repellent
in its soot-like impurity, contrasting the smooth sensation of drinking ‘spring water’,
with the gagging artificiality of spray-flock; we are reminded with a jolt how toxic our
obsession with purity and cleanliness really is. Lots of fluids seem to run through the
work: sucked in by a fur-lined, mouth-like creature with the energy of a crack addict;
apparently running between a suitcase – travel, escape and refreshing holidays –
and a concrete block that seems to be feeding off (or to?) a tree that might have
been killed or perhaps re-energised by artistic usage... Sculptural processes have
become the magic instruments of a post-Freudian fairy-tale, in which life and death,
pleasure and pain, nourishment and poison have become entangled in an exchange
that could lead to deadly battle, intense pleasure, or remain a secret.

Emotionally evocative without ever telling a clear story, affecting without being